Tuesday, 20 January 2015

On falling back in love with Nintendo

A few months ago, a late-night grocery run in Tesco resulted in us coming home with a Wii U. We bought the bundle with Mario Kart 8, and an extra Wii U Pro controller. It was kind of impulsive, but I've certainly had no regrets.

My love for Nintendo probably started with the GameBoy. I didn't own one, but my best friend did. I borrowed hers as often as I could. I mostly played Pokemon, but I don't think I was particularly good at it. It didn't matter, though. I was hooked.

One Christmas, Santa brought me a GameBoy Advance and Warioland 4. I still have such vivid memories of playing that game, and it brings a smile to my face.

My collection of games (and Pokemon) grew. I was basically never looking up from the screen. Of course this only became more intense once the DS came out.

Long story short, I eventually fell out of love with Nintendo. I was busy with school, games were getting way too expensive, and to be honest, I was pretty bored of Mario. It just wasn't doing it for me any more.

For a while, I was so sceptical of Nintendo in general. Their determination to do things their own way had clearly not been working, and I didn't want to buy a whole new console just to play the games from the franchises I love. I turned to Xbox and PC, and I thought that would be it. Until the late-night trip to Tesco.

Okay, so I've been making it sound as if I turned up at Tesco and went "FUCK IT", but really, I'd been thinking about the Wii U for a long time. Nintendo's display at E3 2014 REALLY impressed me. The announcements from Nintendo stuck with me the most. So many of the displays left me thinking "I need to play that game!" In particular, Captain Toad and Yoshis Wooly World, but obviously not forgetting that open-world Zelda announcement, and Smash Bros! And Amiibo! There was just so much that piqued my interest.
So buying a Wii U just felt like a good choice. How else would I play all those games?

The Mario Kart 8 bundle is basically fantastic. And the fact that Nintendo have hopped on the DLC bandwagon? I'm all for it! I love having new tracks come out every few months.

For someone who's never really been able to sink many hours into fighting games, I've had so much fun with Super Smash Bros. Although I will say that the Amiibos level up a BIT too fast. It didn't really feel like AI that was learning, to be honest. It just felt like a really tough CPU. But hey, they're still cute and fun and something new to play with!
Obviously I can't forget to mention the game pad. I loved having a map of the course on the controller while racing on the TV. It's also great if you want to play Captain Toad (which is amazing) while your boyfriend is using the TV to play Xbox (or if your bedroom is conveniently placed above your living room- that game pad is coming to bed with you). It feels like somewhere between a GameBoy and an iPad.

Nintendo get a lot of stick for putting out a lot of remakes, but they're more than some new textures. For example, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are just outstanding. I got a 3DSXL with Ruby for Christmas, and I didn't put it down for about 2 weeks. It made me nostalgic about the original, but it didn't feel like the same game. It's so much better.

3DSXL with decal and case from Etsy (Can you spot Logan's toes?)
As well as all the new content, Nintendo have been keeping the classics alive with the Virtual Console. I bought Earthbound, which never had a European release the first time round, so that was great. I also bought the original Legend Of Zelda for my 3DS. It's been a joy.

Logan, pls.
Nintendo also made me realise that it's okay to enjoy "lame" games. All the boys in school who said you didn't really like games unless it was a shooter were clearly idiots. It's okay to play games the way YOU want to play them, and Nintendo are the best at embracing that.

What I'm trying to say is that Nintendo have really been doing things right recently, and I hope it stays this way. Let's just say that there's far more games that I'm currently excited for on 3DS and Wii U than I am for Xbox One.

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